YOU CAN’T HELP but feel sorry for Sean O’Brien.
The Tullow man simply has no luck. Back in an Ireland jersey for the first time in a year, he didn’t even last 40 minutes before his latest injury setback.
Sean O’Brien suffered another cruel injury. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO
O’Brien launched himself into a tackle on Tomás Lavanini with his typical vigour but was deeply unfortunate that the Pumas lock’s head collided with his right forearm, causing instant pain.
Ireland’s medics ran to O’Brien but the look on his face said it all and Schmidt’s post-match confirmation of an arm break requiring surgery was no surprise.
Sympathy for the 31-year-old will be widespread but he knows better than anyone how quickly professional rugby moves on.
Just as Dan Leavy took his opportunity when Josh van der Flier went down injured in the dramatic win over France at the beginning of Ireland’s Grand Slam run, he delivered off the bench in place of O’Brien against Argentina.
There was an early penalty in the second half, a technical offence for tackling Emiliano Boffelli while he was on the ground, and though it gave up three points to the boot of Nicolás Sánchez, the effort still showed what Leavy is all about.
Tackle everything that moves, as hard as you can. Carry every ball that comes your way, as explosively as possible. Turnover any opposition possession that falls within your eyeline, as aggressively as ever.
Leavy’ influence in the second half was telling for Ireland as they emerged 28-17 winners against the Pumas and the Leinster openside was unlucky not to have a try to crown his abrasive showing, being held up under the posts just before Luke McGrath sniped over from the resulting scrum for the third Irish five-pointer.
Leavy offloads against the Pumas. Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Leavy’s competitiveness even won him what is increasingly becoming a rarity in the modern game, a clean turnover. So often, ball-carriers cling onto the ball and give up a penalty, but Leavy stripped the Pumas clean.
On the ball, Leavy put together a busy 11-carry performance as he eked out 37 metres, beat one defender and popped away two offloads.
Leavy was prominent in the defensive line too, completing seven tackles and hammering his shoulder into several Argentina carriers.
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